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It's a pro-poor budget!: Parliamentarians

June 04, 2011


A poverty-stricken Pakistani family gets food at a charity outlet in Karachi, Pakistan on Friday, June 3, 2011. Pakistan said Friday it was aiming to broaden its tax base in the next fiscal year, part of budget measures to fund a budget deficit and revive an economy battered by years of mismanagement, floods and surging violence by Islamist militants. – AP Photo

ISLAMABAD: Parliamentarians on Saturday hailed the budget for fiscal year 2011-12 and termed it as an effort to give relief to the poor.

Talking to APP, the politicians said that the budget aimed at redressing the poverty issue in Pakistan and provide relief to the masses.

“The budget would provide relief to the masses at a time when the country was faced with crises. This is the fourth consecutive budget presented during the democratic era with a special focus on providing relief to the poor masses while keeping in view the ground realities. It has come up to the expectations of masses," said Chairperson of National Assembly Standing Committee on Social Welfare and Special Education, Rubina Saadat Qaim Khani.

She strongly criticised the members who created a rumpus in the assembly during the session yesterday and went on to allege, "Those who were shouting are in fact tax defaulters and want to destabilise the country.

Sharing a similar opinion, Chairperson of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) Farzana Raja said, "The negative propaganda of opposition is an attempt to destabilise democracy in the country."

"The idea, as proposed in the budget, for generating revenue through raising tax base is a good step. It will be a great success if the government manages to achieve the targets as laid down in the budget. This step would help reduce dependence on foreign aid and make the country self reliant."

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hina Rabbani Khar said that an additional amount of Rs 600 billion for the provinces in the budget envisions a 'prosperous Pakistan'.

She said the government has spent funds in three major areas including energy, flood hit areas and law enforcement agencies. "We have spent an amount of Rs 80 billion in energy sector last year which has now been raised up to Rs 280 billion so that the common man could be provided electricity," she added.

Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Mehreen Razzaq Bhutto praised the budget and said, "The increase in the salaries of government employees by up to 15 percent will help improve their living standard."

Sharing her thoughts on the budget, she said, "Less than five million people pay the tax and this has been a factor in compelling many people to live below poverty line. Long term planning has been announced in this budget to bring more people in the tax net."

Commenting on the budget, PPP leader and former Minister of State for Interior, Tasneem Ahmed Qureshi said that the 15 percent increase in salaries of government servants, 20 percent in pension of retired servants and elimination of central excise and regulatory duty on different items were "good news for the general public".

In a similar vain, PPP Senator Islamuddin Shaikh termed the budget 2011- 12 as "people friendly".

"Billions of rupees have been allocated for the energy sector which shows the concerns of the PPP about the needs of the masses. The budget would help overcome poverty, backwardness and would provide better relief to common man," he said.

Talking about the General Sales Tax (GST), he said, "The government has reduced the rate of the GST from 17 percent to 16 percent which would benefit the poor masses."

While terming the budget "pro-masses", MNA Afzal Nadeem Chan and PPP district president, Hamid Nawaz Awan termed the PML-N leaders' behaviour of throwing bangles during the budget speech as "uncivilised and childish".

"Why did they not throw bangles at Nawaz Sharif when he left Pakistan after begging pardon from a dictator who had toppled his government?" they questioned.